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The Running Decathlon: The 1500m

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Kelly Hayes, a spotter on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is attempting to to complete “The Running Decathlon” which consists of the ten most widely-run track events. His goal is to run each race “half as fast,” or in twice the time, of the current world record in each event. And he will attempt to run these races in the footsteps of those who set the records on the very tracks, and in the very stadiums where the records were set.

His “quest” serves as a platform to raise funds to purchase a $90,000 exoskeleton Bionic Suit, which allows those with critical spinal injuries to rise from their wheelchairs and actually take assisted walks. Think Tony Stark from Ironman. He is relying on donations to the Bridging Bionics Foundation to make this a reality.

Follow Kelly on his journey, which begins in Rome on July 7, 2016, here, on Facebook, Twitter and at race2walk2016.com where you can make a 100 percent tax-deductible contribution towards the purchase of an exoskeleton Bionic Suit for the Bridging Bionics Foundation. One hundred percent of your donations will go towards the purchase of these suits.

Please turn Kelly’s steps into dollars. And we will turn dollars into steps for those who want to walk again.

Eighteen years ago, Hicham El Guerrouj set a record that is currently the longest-standing world record in the 10 events that make up The Running Decathlon.

On July 14, 1998, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in the Golden Gala meet, El Guerrouj, inspired by both immortality and a $50,000 bonus for a world record, ran the 1,500m in 3:26.00. He averaged an incredible 54.93 per lap in breaking the standing mark of Algeria’s Noureddine Morceli by more than a full second.

There was justice in the victory. Just two years before, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, El Guerrouj suffered a devastating defeat to Morceli in the same 1,500 meters. As the pair jockeyed for position at the start of the fourth and final lap of that Olympic final, El Guerrouj clipped Morceli’s right foot and tumbled to the track. Displaying incredible fortitude, he rose to finish the race, but his dream of a gold medal ended with a 12th-place finish.

The legend is that El Guerrouj, distraught and seemingly inconsolable, took tearful refuge in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. There, he received a telephone call from Morocco’s King Hassan, who not only consoled him in his defeat, but also urged him to run his best in the future.

El Guerrouj went on to victory in a number of races over his rival over the next two years and today, still, he holds world marks in the 1,500m, the Mile and the 2,000m.  He also still holds indoors records in the 1,500m and the Mile that date back to February of 1997.

And gold would eventually be his as well. In the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, his final as a competitor, El Guerrouj won the 1500 meters that had eluded him in his two previous Games (he finished second in 2000 in Sydney to Kenyan Noah Ngeny who had paced the 1,500-meter record run in Rome two years before) and doubled up with a gold medal in the 5,000 meters.

Current NBC commentator, and former miler, Craig Masback,  told Sports Illustrated back in 2001 that El Guerrouj “has the cardiovascular system of a man 6-foot-6, the legs of a man 6-foot-2 and the upper body of a man 5-foot-2. In his prime he stood 5-foot-9 and weighed in at a sleek 126 pounds.

But, as a middle-distance runner, he towered above all who came before. Or since.

Other Standards in the 1500m

Olympic Record:   3:32.07  Noah  Ngeny  (KEN)

Women’s Record:  3:50.07 Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)

American Record:  3:29.30 Bernard Lagat  (USA)

** Lagat ran the third-fastest 1,500m ever in 2001 in a race where he finished second to El Guerrouj in Brussels. At the time, he was a Kenyan citizen. He became a citizen of the United States in 2004 and set the American standard in 2005.

Men’s 60-year-old Record: 4:24 Nolan Shaheed (USA)

Joey Chestnut downs a record 74 franks for 11th title

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Defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut chomped down a record 74 franks and buns to take home his 11th title at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

The renowned competitive eater from San Jose, California, takes home the coveted Mustard Belt and surpassed the previous mark of 72 dogs and buns he downed last year.

The heat wasn’t a factor; the National Weather Service put the temperature at 83 degrees with a heat index of 91 degrees.

Miki Sudo said after eating 37 dogs and buns that the heat may have slowed her down in winning the women’s competition.

That didn’t stop the Las Vegas eater from easily beating out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.

Joey Chestnut heavy betting favorite on 2018 Hot Dog contest odds

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It boils down not to “if,” but “how many?” when it comes to Joey Chestnut and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut, who’s won in 10 of the last 11 years, is an overwhelming -550 favorite against the field to prevail again in the July 4 competitive eating contest that takes place in Coney Island, New York, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The rest of the field is listed at +325 to pull off the upset (stomach), but it seems telling that Matt Stonie, the only competitive eater who has out-gorged Chestnut in the last decade, has had a two-year decline in the total of hot dogs and buns consumed since his triumph in 2015.

The reality that Chestnut might be competing against himself could be a tip on how to handle over/under on his 72.5 total. Chestnut has improved his record in three of his last four wins and has consumed at least 68 hot dogs and buns five times, so getting the over – which pays +160, to the -210 for the under – would seem projectable.

Carmen Cincotti, who will mark his 25th birthday on the day of the contest, has emerged as an up-and-coming challenger. The total on Cincotti’s consumption is 59.5, with the over still holding decent value at -190, to +145 for the under.

The alternate lines for the winner’s total – 68.5 and 66.5 – are very low-risk, but also very low-yield plays.

Four-time women’s champion Miki Sudo is also a -550 favorite on the 2018 hot dog contest odds to win her division, with the field priced at +400. Sudo crushed a record 41 hot dogs and buns in 2017, while runner-up Michelle Lesco finished with 32.5.

The over/under on the total for the women’s winner is a toss-up at 41.5, paying -120 either way, and Sudo is likely the only one in the field with a legitimate shot at it. Sudo has finished at least 38 hot dogs and buns in three consecutive years.

In head-to-head props, Sudo is also offering -500 against +300 challenger Sonya Thomas, who won back in 2014. Thomas finished with 30 hot dogs in 2017.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.